Out of the Rain Forest / Weber County Fair opens with an animal experience

Aug 11 2010 - 10:23pm

Images

(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner) 
Above, Robert Mullen scratches Natasha the Bengal tiger during a show about animals of the rain forest at the Weber County Fair in Ogden on Wednesday. Mullen and his wife, Christine, tour the country with exotic animals to promote education and conservation.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Isaac, the ring-tailed lemur.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner) 
Christine Mullen feeds a mountain lion.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner) 
Above, Robert Mullen scratches Natasha the Bengal tiger during a show about animals of the rain forest at the Weber County Fair in Ogden on Wednesday. Mullen and his wife, Christine, tour the country with exotic animals to promote education and conservation.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Isaac, the ring-tailed lemur.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner) 
Christine Mullen feeds a mountain lion.

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OGDEN -- A packed crowd gathered to see a monkey hang by his tail and beautiful tigers leap Wednesday at the Weber County Fair.

In addition to art and craft exhibits, a host of commercial booths, animals performing in various classes, rodeos, demolition derbies, concerts and carnival rides, an attraction this year at the fair is "The Amazing Rain Forest Experience" show, featuring animals from tropical climates throughout the world.

Those who attended the first of the day's three shows, which will run daily through Saturday, learned how a serval's ears act as a sound-radar system, and saw a large red macaw perched on the arm of a trick-horse rider.

"The tiger is one of the greatest athletes we share the planet with," said Robert Mullen during the show as he introduced a 9-year-old performing tiger.

The fair exhibit and show were brought in by Mullen and his wife, Christine "Princess" Mullen. The two said they travel about eight months of the year with their animals and spend the rest of their time in Florida.

Stacy Skeen, Weber County Fair special events coordinator, said the exhibit is new and will be available just for this year's event.

"We just try to find different attractions each year," she said. "We've had duck races, a petting zoo and a reptile adventure."

She said she believes people will enjoy this exhibit and show because it brings in animals people normally would not see at the fair.

Robert Mullen said those who stop by will see something different if they go to multiple shows or come to his exhibit at various times each day.

"Animals in the exhibits and the arena will change throughout the day," he said, explaining that the couple's 28 animals are used in different combinations whenever the two perform.

"If you stop early in the day and you stop back, you are going to see different critters," he said.

Also in the show is a trick horse, an Appendix, which is a cross between a quarter horse and a thoroughbred.

Princess performs on the horse as she introduces various animals. The horse also bows and rears as part of the show.

"We can't bring tigers right up to the fence," Robert Mullen said, explaining that the horse's performance offers a way to bring the show closer to the audience.

Children who attended the show said they would recommend it to others, saying it was worth coming out to the fair to see it.

"I liked the jumping tiger," said 4-year-old Kinsley Charlton, of North Ogden. "I liked the monkey climbing up the rope, too."

"The little tiger could jump in the air 5 feet high," said 4-year-old Brody Clark, of Hooper. "He could catch birds when he's up in the air."

But his 11-year-old brother, Cameron Clark, liked a white Bengal tiger the most. "There's only a few of them in the world," he said.

The Clark boys' grandmother, Cathye Cox, of Hooper, said she also was amazed at a white Bengal tiger that ended the Wednesday afternoon show.

"He was only one year old," she said. "It's kind of amazing that he could be so mild-mannered for only a year old."

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